With the help of AI, Edvicer makes personalized pathway of online courses for students and working professionals who are planning to get skilled in a particular area. The platform today compares more than 100,000 online courses offered by major platforms with the help of ML algorithms to rate the courses.
With passing years, the requirements of the world are not the same as they were ten years ago and yet the academic curriculum in colleges has not changed in decades. But the students and the working professionals are now realizing the lacunae and taking help of online education to keep themselves up to date with the requirements of today. Online learning of late has seen tremendous growth in its followers because of the inherent mismatch between skill demand by the industry and skill supply by the academia.
Subsequently, the online education is going through massive changes, both due to swift technological transformations and increasing expectations of online learners. Several startups have a role to play and are providing online courses on their platform for learners to learn what they want to learn in their own time. But, so many startups focusing on providing more content for learning has resulted in a massive and confusing mess of online content, which necessitates a lot of research work before choosing a perfect course.
Rummaging through such volumes of online content is tedious and time consuming, i.e. browsing through tens of websites only to be bombarded with tons of online courses. Vaibhav Srivastava and Milan Roy, both alumni of IIT Delhi, were familiar with such quandaries as they faced similar problems during their college days and decided to do something about it. As a result Edvicer, an online platform or online course aggregator, was created which aggregates, compares and recommends online courses from all the major course providers.
Edvicer: The Reason, Inception, and Journey
There were a lot of factors which led two enthusiastic individuals, Vaibhav from Kanpur and Milan from Faridabad, meet each other in IIT Delhi and start Edvicer. Both of them joined IIT Delhi to complete their B.Tech and M.Tech in chemical engineering and, in the course of time, they found themselves developing an interest in the subjects of computer science. Since their slots in college were filled with chemical engineering courses, they had to take the shelter of online course to follow their passion. When all their friends were diligently trying to get placed, they mutually decided to help the education world they have been a part of for so long.
From batchmates to friends to business partners, they both have had a fair share of online courses that they specialized in during their college time. They found that the huge number of online courses and lack of ratings, reviews and recommendations made it extremely challenging for them to find a suitable course due to which they had to spend their money on a lot of below average online courses. When they reached out to other people, they found that they were not the only ones facing the problem. And hence, an idea for Edvicer started to develop.
Edvicer was developed to help the users to make a well-informed decision quickly and without any hustle. The platform compares more than 1 lakh online courses offered by major platforms; and with the help of a machine learning algorithm, an overall rating is given to the course along with ratings on the assignments, content, difficulty, forum, satisfaction, and teaching- everything needed to make a good decision.
Overcoming Hurdles, Steering Forward
Every startup faces one or the other problem; and for someone entering the domain of Education, they have to be careful with the choices they make. The plan was to make a platform which not only lists all the courses, but also helps the user decide the best course for them. And that decision just like any other such decision is based on reviews. Now this presented a chicken and egg problem because they were dependent on the reviews for the website to be of any use to the users and on the users for the website to have reviews. In nutshell, reviews by visitors and visitors by reviews were again creating a classic vicious circle. This was a massive challenge for them, and they finally came up with an AI-based algorithm based on several factors including the characteristics of the courses for rating the courses.
With time, the ratings given by the algorithm would be merged with ratings provided by users on their platform. The next challenge was to start building the service, and since both of them gave up college placements to start their startup, funding was a major problem and hiring a team for technical developments of the service was a little out of the question. Both Vaibhav and Milan are pretty tech-savvy, but that was not enough. So they learnt the skills that were needed through various online courses while working on what they could with their level of skills. The beginning was tough, but soon, things got more comfortable, and they were able to develop a complex website with over 1 lac online courses.
Edvicer has collaborated with course providers like Coursera, Udemy, edX, Edureka, Udacity, and many more. These major course providers are already a huge deal when it comes to online education. They would continue collaborating with more major and minor course providers in the future which provide good online content for education. Since Edvicer is based in India, they would also be looking to cater the needs of the fellow Indian students preparing for several entrance examinations, be it for Chartered Accountant, Engineering or IAS.
Milestones and Current Growth
The first milestone for Edvicer was when they collaborated with all the primary course providing websites. They had given up college placements and everything they had in mind, their vision was based on the hope that they would be able to partner with these course providers. It was a stressful time for them. And then the day came when they got emails from Coursera, Udemy and Edureka, all on one day, letting them know that they would collaborate with Edvicer. That was a huge day for them. It was the first finger pointing in the right direction.
Edvicer was launched on December 5, 2019 and the growth has been good and steady. With users from about 120 countries in the world, Edvicer has received very positive response for most of the features, especially their feature of ‘Courses Pathway’ which enables a user to get a personalized roadmap towards learning a particular skill. It is currently focused on working on the feedback from the users, improving their service, and achieving a product-market fit. Edvicer is also keen on adding some really exciting services and features to the website which would make it a one-stop solution for any student and working professional.
Edvicer: Foresight and Future
The duo is working towards helping the learners while making the brand of Edvicer successful. They want Edvicer to become the go-to search engine and recommendation platform for users when it comes to online courses, skill development, and career options. Be it a veteran professional looking to enter in a new domain, a fresh employee looking to set well in his company, a college student worried about how to get a decent job, or a school student hoping to enter her dream college, the founders foresee Edvicer becoming the one-stop solution for everyone.
(Based on inputs supplied from the founders, Mr. Milan Roy and Vaibhav Srivastava)